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Golf / Sports

Brice Garnett leads Colonial by 1 stroke

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Birdies are available at Colonial Country Club.

Just ask Jimmy Walker. He hit one in flight above the 17th fairway.

But through two rounds, the storied course has held its own. There seems to be a bag limit on birdies. Even the one Walker hit flew away.

Players have struggled to gain momentum with just slight breezes blowing on and off. Danger lurks in the rough. Most who went low on Thursday gave back on Friday.

The result: A crowded leaderboard with 35 players separated by only five strokes.

Rookie Brice Garnett has kept damage to a minimum, shooting 4-under 66 to enter the weekend with a one-stroke lead over Brian Stroud and Robert Streb.

New world No. 1 Adam Scott rallied to make the cut, shooting 68 to be within six strokes. No. 4 Matt Kuchar, missed his first cut in his eighth Colonial start.

Dallas' 20-year-old sensation Jordan Spieth shot 69 and is tied for 11th, three shots back. Dallas' Hunter Mahan, who shot an opening 66, shot 71 and to stand tied for 17th.

It's as if players are tiptoeing around. No one has taken charge. But everyone knows low scores are out there.

Garnett is making his Colonial debut. He has made 15 of 18 cuts this season but has only two top-25 finishes. This is his first lead after any round on the PGA Tour.

The last player to win in his Colonial debut was Sergio Garcia in 2001.

"Super excited," Garnett said. "I'm just keeping my head down and trying to make as many birdies as possible. I'm going to try to embrace it this weekend and have fun, and we'll see where we stand come Sunday."

Garnett's 7-under 133 matches the co-highest 36-hole total since 2004, when Justin Leonard and J.L. Lewis were tied at 134. Phil Mickelson was 133 at the midway point in 2008.

Streb was on the other side of the cut line in his Colonial debut last year. He sounded as if he felt guilty shooting 68 while hitting only three fairways. Asked to explain his scrambling success, Streb said:

"I don't know. I guess I didn't get behind too many trees, so, yeah, it worked out all right.

"Hopefully, I'll hit a few more fairways. Just try to stay to my game plan. Not get too flustered and hopefully make some putts."

Seventy-five pros made the cut of 1-over 141.

Stroud, looking for his first win in his 208th start, tied for 13th in 2012 and tied for seventh last year.

His 64 is the lowest score so far. The remarkable round featured eight birdies and two bogeys.

Using a new Scotty Cameron putter, Stroud made the second-most feet of putts in a round since 2003, when laser data was first used.

His putts totaled 220.8 feet, which trails only Brent Geiberger's mark of 240.4 at the 2006 Booz Allen in round one.

"I've hit it terrible the last two days, really, really bad, but putted awesome," Stroud said. "So I don't have to worry about the greens. I just need to get the ball on the greens. Usually it's the opposite. But, man, it sure is nice to make putts."

He had 12 one-putts, draining five longer than 20 feet. His longest was 56.4 feet on No. 4, the tough par-3.

"I was so relaxed out there," Stroud said. "It's obviously a little luck."

(c)2014 Fort Worth Star-Telegram

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